A woman looking like she is in her 60’s entered the hotel, and told me she’s waiting for someone to come get her. That was fine with me. Whoever she was waiting for arrived, and took her upstairs. An hour later, she walked back to the desk with three young kids. The oldest of the kids, who looked to be about 12 walked to the desk and complained that the room was steaming hot. I started telling her how to turn the heat down in the room when the older lady interrupted me.
“I just had to drive all the way up here to pick up my granddaughters, because it’s too darn hot, in there. What the hell kind of place is this? You would think you would have more control of your heat.” She blurted; sounding more upset than needed.
“ Ma’am, I was just saying that all you have to do is turn the temperature down on the heating unit,” I said.
“Well I looked at it, and I turned the dial on the wall, you know, the round thing on the wall? I turned that, and nothing seemed to have happened.”
“We don’t have any dials on the walls. You can only change the temperature using the buttons on the heating unit.”
“Well, how the hell do we do that?” It seemed she was attempting to get frustrated with me as if somehow, I am responsible for their lack of problem-solving skills.
“You just push the minus button located on the heating unit,” I replied. She looked like she was searching for another complaint.
“It’s hotter than hell in there. Why is it so damn hot?”
“I assume someone turned it up earlier, and it got hotter. You just have to turn it back down. I am happy to go up and fix it for you guys.” She became even more visually frustrated with me.
“Well, no. People are sleeping in there.” She clearly just wanted to argue, and everything I said to explain how to resolve their issue just led to her searching for some other reason to complain. There was clearly no resolution that she wanted to hear, and I didn’t want to argue with someone who wasn’t actually staying at the hotel.
“Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do from the desk. Is the parent, who rented the room still in there? Can I have the room number please?”
“204.. Yes, their mother is in the room.”
“Well, if she wants to talk to me, I can help her figure out the heating issue, but if she doesn’t actually complain to me, then there isn’t really anything for me to do about it. I will call the room and ask her if she wants my help. Is there anything I can do for you?”
“You can explain what the heating issue is.”
“Is there anything else?”
“Okay, I’ll talk to the person renting the room. If she wants my help, I will be happy to do so.” She stood there, staring at me with a dumbfounded look on her face.
“Well, I am certainly not happy with the service that I am receiving from this hotel!”
“Ma’am, I feel it is important for me to remind you that you have not paid us for our services because you are not renting a room from us. If the person who is renting the room feels that we have not fulfilled their expectations, then that person is free to express that.” The oldest of the three kids started running back upstairs, shouting…
“I’m gonna tell my mom how to turn the heat down.” The older woman watched her run away, then turned her confused gaze back to me.
“Now what?” She asked, with that you’re in trouble, look on her face.
“Now I go back to my work. Have a good night, and please drive safely.”
“You are very rude!”
“You lied to me,” I said, with a slight grin.
“What?” She looked like I had just said something offensive.
“When you complained about not being able to fix the heat, you told me you turned the dial on the wall. Not one single room has a thermostat on any wall. All of the rooms have floor units, and the only way to adjust the temperature is to use the clearly marked buttons on the front of the unit. When you told me you turned the dial on the wall, you were lying. The only thing on the wall is the light switch, which is located next to the door as you enter the room.”
“I am not a liar!” She shouted.
“Please let me know what wall you found a thermostat on, in that room.” She pointed to the one on the wall behind my desk.
“You have one right there.”
“Yes, we also have one in the dining room. Unfortunately, I didn’t ask you to point out the ones outside of that room. If this were a game-show, you would have just lost points.”
“I would never lie.” She insisted. She even turned her nose toward the ceiling.
“So where in that room is there a thermostat on the wall?”
“I found it right next to the television.” She said, not looking in my direction.
“Holy crap!” I shouted, which startled her.
“Can’t you feel the burn?”
“I’m pretty sure your pants are on fire!” I grabbed the fire extinguisher from behind the desk. “Want me to put it out?”
The lady gasped, grabbed her two little girls hands, and walked out the door. A moment later the woman renting the room called the desk and told me she fixed the issue, then thanked me for my help.